In the past year, influencer marketing has exploded. Marketers are tapping into the voices of bloggers, vloggers, and social media stars to amplify their brands and extend their reach—and having undeniable success. Analysts estimate that for every dollar spent, a brand earns $6.50 in return! However, without the proper checks and balances in place, marketers can pay a price. Recently, the Federal Trade Commission cracked down on Lord & Taylor for not properly disclosing its relationship with 50 influencers in an Instagram campaign. While the company did not suffer any financial penalties, the FTC has made it clear that they will be closely policing the latest guidelines surrounding sponsored content and influencer campaigns.
Marketers embarking on an influencer campaign must educate themselves on the rules of engagement, if you will, before launching a campaign. Here, we offer a few best practices for brands and influencers – note that these rules apply to video, written, and social media campaigns.
Influencers must give their truthful opinion – endorsements of a product must reflect the influencer’s actual experience with it.
If influencers are being paid to endorse or review a product, it must be expressly noted in the post or review.
If influencers are given free products to endorse or review, again, that must be disclosed.
Influencers must disclose their affiliation or connection with the brand and disclosures must be prominently placed within the post. Further, the disclosure must be made in the language that the endorsement is made in (for example, if the post is in Spanish, the endorsement must also be in Spanish).
Disclosures must be made on social media posts. For instance pinning an image on Pinterest can be considered an ad even if there’s no text associated with it, and therefore must include a disclosure.
Tweeting or posting on social media as part of a contest or giveaway also needs to be noted with a clear disclosure—a hashtag and/or tagging a brand is not considered adequate disclosure of a relationship.
If marketers determine that influencers aren’t complying with FTC guidelines, they must insist that the influencer remove the post or change the content to comply with the rules.
Bottom line: when in doubt, disclose!
The FTC is holding brands responsible for monitoring the influencers they work with to make sure they are complying with the disclosure requirements. Partnering with a reputable influencer network well-versed in the current guidelines can help to ensure that guidelines are communicated to influencers and being followed. Women’s Marketing works with best-in-class partners whose vetted influencers can help to introduce your products to a targeted and highly engaged audience. Contact us to learn how we can help you locate the most effective way to reach your core consumer when and where she’s most receptive to your message.
Source: FTC Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking